Since last year, Samsung Display has been investing a lot of money into bringing in equipment into A3 plant and constructing back-end process lines in Vietnam. While amount of its annual plant and equipment investment used to be between $3.55 billion and $4.44 billion (4 trillion KRW and 5 trillion KRW), Samsung Display invested doubled its average annual investment last year by investing $8.69 billion (9.8 trillion KRW). It also invested $7.72 billion (8.7 trillion KRW) just during first half of this year.
While Samsung partially produces flexible OLED panels along with rigid OLED panels on its A2 line, it will only produce panels for iPhones on its A3 line as Apple has reportedly requested different technologies. Operating at 100% with 100% yield, Samsung could make 124 million 6-inch panels and 130-million 5.8-inch panels per year. However, it's said that yield for Apple will be low due to technical difficulties. It's estimated that yields for Samsung Electronics are at 80% but yields for Apple will be at 60%. Using that percentage yield, Samsung would be able to make 75 million 6-inch panels and 79 million 5.8-inch panels per year.
Apple sells about 200 million iPhones per year. Even with the launch of an iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, it would be seem likely that the company will run into an OLED display shortage. LG is said to begin operating an OLED production line in the second quarter of 2018 but it's expected to produce about 15,000 panels per month. In order to increase production further, Samsung is considering investments in a new A5 plant. In addition, a L7-1 line is being converted from LCD to 6th generation flexible OLED and is said to be operational from 4Q 2017.
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